Olive Ridleys congregated for mass nesting at the Rushikulya

Updated: 14.03.2013

Over three lakh Olive Ridley turtles have laid eggs near River Rushikulya Mouth in Ganjam district around within a span of only one week. Mass nesting began in River Mouth on 13 February. Usually the turtles prefer the 4.5-km beach stretch from Gokharkuda to Podampeta for laying eggs, but this year, the nesting has so far been confined to 3.2-km stretch between Purunabandha and Gokharkuda. Wildlife experts were earlier apprehensive about the mass nesting as the 4-km site of the rookery was submerged due to the diversion of the river Rushikulya. Last year, the turtles had congregated for mass nesting at the Rushikulya beach on February 29. While around 2.60 lakh turtles had laid eggs in the Rushikulya river delta in 2008-09, 1.07 lakh turtles had nested in the beach last year. Forest officials made elaborate arrangements for smooth and safe nesting of the turtles. The entire area was divided into 32 sectors. Forest personnel and local volunteers have been deployed in each sector for counting the eggs. They also provided protections to the eggs. Forest personnel and local volunteers guard the mating turtles in the Bay of Bengal, while Coast Guards look after their safety. The government also imposes a ban on marine fishing within five to 10 km area from the sea shore over 170-km coast in the state from November 1 to May 31 every year to protect the turtles. The hatchels generally emerge around 45 days of the nesting. It will be around 1st week of April hatchels can be seen moving back to the waters of Bay of Bengal. It's a must visit place during these vacations.